ZON Turns On 360Mbit/s Internet Service

ZON Multimédia of Portugal began pushing the limits of Docsis 3.0 technology this month with the launch of Fibra 360, a new cable modem tier that supports downstream bursts of 360Mbit/s.

The tier, which comes with a 24Mbit/s upstream, is believed to be the fastest deployed D3 downstream service in the world, far surpassing the 160Mbit/s cable modem offerings marketed some MSOs in parts of Asia. (See J:COM Does Docsis 3.0 All Over and Wideband: Priced to Move .)

ZON is hitting the (shared) 360Mbit/s mark by bonding eight EuroDocsis channels using gear from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). EuroDocsis channels use 8MHz-wide spacing, with each channel producing roughly 55 Mbit/s. North American Docsis, by comparison, uses 6MHz-wide channels, with each pumping out about 40 Mbit/s.

According to the MSO's Website, ZON is making the new tier available only through a video and phone bundle that carries a 12-month promotional price of €99.99 (US$131), before rising to €104.99 ($137.73). Its next-largest service bundle comes with a 120Mbit/s cable modem service.

ZON's Cable Modem Service Tiers

ZON, which has more than 1.5 million subs and operates networks passing 2.8 million homes, also offers a purely fiber-based tier that pumps out 1 Gbit/s.

But the new tier sets a new deployment benchmark for Docsis, and represents the latest attempt by a European operator to push the limits of the wideband technology.

Kabel Deutschland GmbH of Germany made waves earlier this month when it disclosed a D3 trial that achieved download speeds of 1.17 Gbit/s. That test, which also used Cisco equipment, aggregated the capacities of 24 downstream EuroDocsis channels. Cisco confirmed that KDG used its flagship cable modem termination system (CMTS), the uBR10012, for the trial, but has yet to explain the cable modem setup. It's been speculated, however, that the test "duct-taped" three D3-certified Cisco modems, with each outfitted with eight bonded downstream channels. (See KDG, Cisco Hit 1Gig Cable Modem Speeds .)

Before that, Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) set Docsis land speed records via a pilot that's testing throughputs of 200 Mbit/s. (See Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:17:16 PM
re: ZON Turns On 360Mbit/s Internet Service

I neglected to mention that a small Dutch ISP, CAI Harderwijk, was the first to deploy a symmetrical 100Mbit/s D3 service.



jwaldrop 12/5/2012 | 4:17:11 PM
re: ZON Turns On 360Mbit/s Internet Service

Cable Modem speeds of 200Mbit/s to 1.17Gbit/s are very impressive and certainly make worthy headlines. However, delivering quality Internet service is probably more important than the speed. Quality is referring specifically to latency and packet loss. Latency and packet loss will disrupt realtime applications such as VoIP, video and gaming no matter what the speed. We see many reports from our IP Packet Loss and Delay Test and believe the industry would serve itself well by emphasizing quality as much as speed. In addition, consumers need to be educated that 0.1% packet loss is as impressive as 20 Mbit/s.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:17:09 PM
re: ZON Turns On 360Mbit/s Internet Service

To your point, which is a good one, the quality will be best effort, so this is the potential burst speed a customer could get, but  of course won't on a regular basis.  But MSOs, telcos, and other ISPs still like to trot out the advertised speeds, just as VZ did with its new 150-meg tier.  The perception is more is better, though consumers will still have to pay a premium to find out if it's really worth it. But I have to admit that a 20 mbit/s loss you cite is also an eye-popping number. JB

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